Landlord killer could be released from watch

In 1985, John Pogline Jr. walked into his 76-year-old landlord's room on Barclay Street, strangled her and stabbed her once in the heart.

The landlord, Rose Scott, died that night.

A few months later, a judge ruled the 21-year-old Pogline not guilty by reason of insanity.

Pogline said he heard voices that told him to kill. Doctors said he suffered from acute paranoid schizophrenia.

Pogline was sentenced to the Colorado Mental Health Institute at Pueblo, where he stayed until the mid-1990s, when he was granted a conditional release.

As a condition of his release, Pogline, who now lives in Grand Junction, has to take drug tests and is required to take anti-psychotic medication. He sees a therapist every two weeks, but he is free to go and do as he pleases.

On Dec. 15, 20 years after he killed Scott, Pogline will go before a judge in Steamboat Springs and ask for an unconditional release.

Pogline and his family say he is rehabilitated and deserves release.

But the District Attorney's Office, the police officer who investigated the case and the family of Rose Scott say Pogline needs to remain under supervision.

Voices silenced?

If the judge grants Pogline an unconditional release, there is no guarantee he will take his medication, Chief Deputy District Attorney Amy Fitch said.

Pogline said the anti-psychotic medication has silenced the voices that told him to kill Scott.

"The medication works," he said. "I don't have any psychotic symptoms at all."

But if a judge grants Pogline unconditional release, Fitch said, he could stop taking the medication.

"We would have no right to make sure he is taking them," she said.

Pogline contends that even under supervision, there is no guarantee he is taking the medication.

The medication lowers his white blood cell count, so he has to have blood work done every two weeks, Pogline said. He also has to take random drug tests to make sure he isn't taking illegal drugs.

But other than those requirements, the only thing keeping Pogline on his medication is himself, he said.

Pogline said the drugs "absolutely" make him feel better and that he has no desire to stop taking them.

"I don't want to repeat my crime," he said.

'So unnecessary'

During his 25-year law enforcement career, Jeff Corr--iveau worked on about 20 murder cases.

The Rose Scott murder stands out as one of the most violent crimes he ever investigated, Corriveau said.

"It was so violent, so unnecessary," Corriveau said. "She was just a wonderful old lady."

Corriveau was the Craig Pol--ice Department's chief investigator on the case. He was later Moffat County Sheriff and has since left law enforcement.

He said he is opposed to Pogline being set free from supervision.

"He was out of touch with reality. He was a seriously ill person at that time," Corriveau said. "I have a difficult time believing that someone that was that ill can be OK to walk the streets."

Corriveau said he thinks Pogline should have been sent to prison in 1994 after doctors deemed him well enough to leave the state mental hospital.

"It's disturbing to think someone can be that ill and just be let go when some doctor says he is OK," Corriveau said.

'I like it here'

No matter what the judge decides next month, Pogline, now 41, said he has no plans to return to Craig.

"I like it here," Pogline said of Grand Junction, where he works as a dishwasher.

Pogline graduated from Mesa State College with an art degree in May.

His father, John Pogline Sr., says his son is no longer the same person who stabbed Rose Scott.

"He is completely different," Pogline Sr. said. "He is doing fine now."

Pogline Sr. lives in Craig but said he is confident his son won't return.

'Dumb like a fox'

Rose Scott's son said he doesn't think Pogline should be set free, no matter how changed he says he is.

Jim Scott, who lives on the Front Range, said Pogline could be fooling the people who think he is ready for release.

"I'm certainly not an expert," Scott said. "I'm just prejudiced."

He opposed Pogline's conditional release and now opposes unconditional release.

Scott said he isn't sure he will return for next month's hearing, but the district attorney knows where he stands.

Scott said he worries Pogline is telling doctors what they want to hear in an effort to secure his release.

"There are some people who are dumb like a fox," Scott said.

Brandon Johansson can be reached at 824-7031, ext. 213, or bjohansson@craigdailypress.com.

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